The mind is such an amazing instrument. When we harness the power of the mind, the possibilities of what we can create for ourselves and our world are infinite. However, like any other instrument, it takes practice to learn how to use the mind well. To give you an idea of what the mind is capable of, imagine this. If you stand with your two feet together – the area covered by your two feet represents the amount of our mind that most of us are using. But if you draw an 11 mile radius around yourself, that represents the amount that the mind is capable of. Needless to say, most of us have a lot or growing room. We can learn to use more and more of our mind’s capacity as we develop our six mental faculties. Our what? I know, I was never taught this stuff in school either. The six mental faculties are imagination, intuition, perception, will, memory and reason. These are our mental muscles. The words aren’t new, but perhaps the awareness that we can consciously develop them is.
So let’s start with Imagination. Imagination is that ability that many of us exercised most freely as children. Imagining ourselves into different possible futures as we proclaimed – I’m gonna be a fireman when I grow up! Or, I’m gonna be a doctor… Or the President of the United States! Then some of us got scolded by the teacher or our parents to “stop daydreaming”. When we recognize that everything in our life was created twice, first as a thought and then as a thing, we begin to recognize the incredible power of the imagination.
I recently heard a true story told by Jack Canfield about a boy who used his imagination to create a dream. It goes like this…
I have a friend named Monty Roberts who owns a horse ranch in San Ysidro. He has let me use his house to put on fund-raising events to raise money for youth at risk programs.
The last time I was there he introduced me by saying, “I want to tell you why I let Jack use my horse. It all goes back to a story about a young man who was the son of an itinerant horse trainer who would go from stable to stable, race track to race track, farm to farm and ranch to ranch, training horses. As a result, the boy’s high school career was continually interrupted. When he was a senior, he was asked to write a paper about what he wanted to be and do when he grew up.
“That night he wrote a seven-page paper describing his goal of someday owning a horse ranch. He wrote about his dream in great detail and he even drew a diagram of a 200-acre ranch, showing the location of all the buildings, the stables and the track. Then he drew a detailed floor plan for a 4,000-square-foot house that would sit on a 200-acre dream ranch.
“He put a great deal of his heart into the project and the next day he handed it in to his teacher. Two days later he received his paper back. On the front page was a large red F with a note that read, `See me after class.’
“The boy with the dream went to see the teacher after class and asked, `Why did I receive an F?’
“The teacher said, `This is an unrealistic dream for a young boy like you. You have no money. You come from an itinerant family. You have no resources. Owning a horse ranch requires a lot of money. You have to buy the land. You have to pay for the original breeding stock and later you’ll have to pay large stud fees. There’s no way you could ever do it.’ Then the teacher added, `If you will rewrite this paper with a more realistic goal, I will reconsider your grade.’
“The boy went home and thought about it long and hard. He asked his father what he should do. His father said, `Look, son, you have to make up your own mind on this. However, I think it is a very important decision for you.’ “Finally, after sitting with it for a week, the boy turned in the same paper, making no changes at all.
He stated, “You can keep the F and I’ll keep my dream.”
Monty then turned to the assembled group and said, “I tell you this story because you are sitting in my 4,000-square-foot house in the middle of my 200-acre horse ranch. I still have that school paper framed over the fireplace.” He added, “The best part of the story is that two summers ago that same schoolteacher brought 30 kids to camp out on my ranch for a week.” When the teacher was leaving, he said, “Look, Monty, I can tell you this now. When I was your teacher, I was something of a dream stealer. During those years I stole a lot of kids’ dreams. Fortunately you had enough gumption not to give up on yours.”
Our imagination is the mental faculty that creates our future. Don’t let anyone steal yours. It is the key to creating the life you love.